SOHU – TL – Open Beta soon?
TLBB is a new game that is in development by Sohu’s game division. This is a domestically developed game .
This is an interesting game that could be very popular or completely fails.
But so far, SOHU had been doing what NTES had been doing, that is, keeping a low profile and hard at work. Typical Chinese game companies will spend 2 years in internal development and 3 to 4 months in close beta before open beta. They produce games like toy assembly line production.
This game (just like all NTES’s games) had been different. It starts external close beta on 6/15/2006. It had been adding tremendous amount of contents week by week. It is clear that this is going to be a game with excellent amount of game-playing.
But nobody knows about this game because, unlike most other Chinese companies, SOHU hasn’t advertise it yet.
As far as I can tell (could always change since the game is so young), the knock against it is (1). The graphics is not up to the 1st tier games and (2). No innovative features.
If SOHU positions this game as free-to-play and put marketing muscles into it, it could be the dark horse game in 2007/2008. Besides Tencents, SOHU is the company that has the most potential in marketing a game. It has the 2nd most popular portal (sohu.com), it has the larget gaming web site (17173.com), and the largest alumni community site (chinaren.com), all of these can reach plenty of PC gamers.
Anyway, it is going to into pressure testing on 3/22/2007. Pressure test had always been the last step before open beta.
SOHU had not disclosed when it will be in open beta yet. But my guess is probably sometimes in April or May.
For Sohu investors, this can be the surprise that will give the second half earning a kick because nobody think this game will amount to anything.